Compulsory Jurisdiction in International Law
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Compulsory Jurisdiction in International Law

Vanda Lamm

The Statute of the Permanent Court of International Justice by the provisions of the optional clause has introduced a system of partial obligatory international adjudication based on the full observance of the voluntary acceptance of the court’s jurisdiction. This timely book offers a wide-ranging survey of the development of the optional clause system, the theoretical and procedural aspects of unilateral declarations of acceptance, and the different reservations added to these declarations. It also seeks to find solutions to the improvement of the system.
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Chapter 11: Reconsidering the optional clause system

Vanda Lamm


With the establishment of both the Permanent Court and the optional clause in its Statute a good framework seemed to be created for the introduction of compulsory international adjudication. Although a great deal of controversy surrounded the elaboration of the provisions of the optional clause, the hopes of the founding fathers were not without justification, that being a new system of partial obligatory adjudication, having strong roots in the documents adopted at the very successful Hague Peace Conferences and based on the voluntary acceptance of the Court’s jurisdiction, thus fully observing the sovereignty of states.Those who were the partisans of generally obligatory international adjudication were convinced that with the establishment of the Permanent Court an important step had been taken towards a regime of generally obligatory international adjudication. Mankind was in the aftermath of an unprecedented terrible war lasting more than four years, and there was the expectation that the idea of peaceful settlement of international disputes would find more supporters than ever before. That was upheld also by the fact that, after the entry into force of the Statute of the Permanent Court of International Justice, states had started to deposit declarations of acceptance under Article 36, paragraph 2. The fact that in most cases, declaring states had renewed their fixed-term declarations or even replaced them with ones for an unlimited period was a further encouraging phenomenon. However, one could witness another development as well.

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